The crypto market is a volatile place. Some people have made fortunes overnight, while others have lost their life savings just as quickly. But some cryptocurrencies are more volatile than others. For instance, between November 2020 and October 2021, Shiba Inu (SHIB 7.83%) generated jaw-dropping returns of over 153,000,000%, a pace that would have turned pocket change into a million-dollar portfolio in less than a year.
Unfortunately, Shiba Inu has since fallen 66% from its all-time high, shedding billions of dollars in value in a few short months. But some supporters are calling for a rebound, especially with a Shiba Inu Metaverse in the works. In fact, the chief executive officer of Bigger Entertainment Steven Cooper recently explained how the meme token could reach $0.01, a price that implies 33,000% upside. But is that realistic?
Let's dive in.
Shiba Inu's origin story
Let's start at the beginning. The pseudonymous Ryoshi created Shiba Inu in August 2020, and in the woof paper -- a play on the term white paper -- the author introduces the project as "an experiment in decentralized spontaneous community building." Put another way, the project was started on a whim for no real purpose.
If you continue reading, the woof paper goes on to rhapsodize on the importance of community, highlighting the accomplishments of Reddit's WallStreetBets with respect to meme stocks like AMC Entertainment. While those words are probably meant to inspire confidence, I think they do the exact opposite. AMC stock has lost 70% of its value, and it still trades at an outrageous valuation compared to pre-pandemic multiples. As meme traders have illustrated, stocks prices can ignore fundamentals for surprisingly long periods of time, but eventually fundamentals matter.
Despite launching in 2020, Shiba Inu existed in relative obscurity until mid-2021. That's when the meme token's marketing paid off. Borrowing Dogecoin's mascot was brilliant, because it gave traders a familiar logo around which they could rally, and that's exactly what happened. When Elon Musk tweeted a picture of his dog Floki (a Shiba Inu) in early October, the meme token became an immediate sensation on the social platform. In the following days, the number of tweets mentioning Shiba Inu soared 20-fold, and the meme token's price rose 10-fold in less than a month.
The bull case
That popularity is Shiba Inu's greatest asset. The meme token has indeed created a community, and the so-called Shiba Army is now over 1.1 million strong in terms of unique addresses. Moreover, the developer team has taken steps to boost the meme token's utility, which could potentially make it more valuable.
For instance, ShibaSwap is a decentralized exchange where investors can stake their SHIB tokens to earn rewards. Investors can also purchase non-fungible tokens (NFTs) known as Shiboshis, each of which has traits that will be relevant in the upcoming Shiboshi Game. More recently, the developer team announced plans to participate in the metaverse.
Specifically, a Feb. 8 blog post provides vague details about Shiba Lands, stating that at some point in the future people will be able to purchase virtual land in the Shiba Inu Metaverse. When that time rolls around, traders holding Doge Killer (LEASH) tokens will be given priority. The blog goes on to say that owning Shiba Real Estate will "bring an array of benefits," though no further information has been provided.
The bear case
Shiba Inu offers very little real-world utility. Yes, the decentralized exchange allows traders to earn rewards, but there is a catch. Only one-third of staking rewards are available immediately, while the remainder is locked away for six months, during which time the value of the cryptocurrency may plunge. Additionally, the Shiboshis NFT collection currently ranks no. 116 on OpenSea, the most popular NFT marketplace in terms of dollar volume. That's not very impressive. Even worse, over the last 30 days, the collection hasn't even cracked the top 1,000 in OpenSea, which means it's trending downward.
As for Shiba Inu's metaverse aspirations, investors should be restrained with their optimism. Yes, the metaverse probably is a multitrillion dollar market opportunity, but crypto projects like Axie Infinity and Splinterlands already have a big head start. In fact, Splinterlands has seen over 500,000 active users in the past 30 days, and the Axie Infinity NFT Marketplace has seen over 500,000 traders in the last 30 days. To put it mildly, the Shiba Inu Metaverse may have a tough time gaining traction. Moreover, it's too early (and we have too few details) to use the metaverse as an investment thesis for the meme token.
An unrealistic price target
Shiba Inu started with a supply of 1 quadrillion tokens -- that's the number 1 followed by 15 zeroes -- but a significant portion of that total has been burned and taken out of circulation. So the circulating supply currently sits at 549 trillion tokens, meaning Shiba Inu would have a market cap of $5.49 trillion if the token price hit $0.01. Of course, that's not very likely, given that the entire crypto market is currently worth $1.9 trillion. But CEO Cooper argues that a price of $0.01 is achievable if enough Shiba Inu is burned. And his company Bigger Entertainment -- a music publisher and entertainment group that specializes in crypto burn campaigns -- has already helped take billions of Shiba Inu tokens out of circulation.
Cooper is correct. If enough tokens are burned, the price could certainly reach $0.01. Of course, the same logic applies to any currency. Burning U.S. dollars would reduce supply, theoretically increasing the value of each dollar. But that means you need to find people willing to throw money away. That seems unlikely.
Here's the bottom line: Shiba Inu certainly has a loyal fan base, and anything is possible when it comes to cryptocurrency. But I doubt this token will come anywhere close to $0.01 in the future.